Nearly 300 snow shoe racers, skiers, and snowboarders gathered in Wausau from January 28-29 to compete at the 2012 Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) State Winter Games. To kick off the weekend, special guest Senator Pam Galloway shot the starter pistol to officially declare the games open at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Nine Mile Forest. Approximately 100 coaches, 200 volunteers, and 400 spectators enjoyed temperatures in the 20’s, a nice change from the frigid weather of past years, while they cheered for the athletes from the sidelines.
For the second year in a row, handmade scarves were worn by all during the Games, the result of the 2012 Special Olympics USA Scarf Project. SOWI received an astounding 2,500 navy and red scarves from across the state, which not only kept the athletes warm, but created a fun, festive atmosphere. A huge thank you to the knitting and crocheting community!
After a long day of competition, athletes were in a warmer state of mind Saturday night while celebrating their sports achievements during the ceremony and beach party-themed dance at the Holiday Inn in Rothschild.
Wausau has hosted this state tournament for the past 24 years. Thank you to Granite Peak and Nine Mile Forest for their continued support as well as Hydrite Chemical Company, the Dental Clinic of Marshfield, and the Judd S. Alexander Foundation for their donations. Finally, hats off to the Ho Chunk Nation for their generous donation towards a brand new ATV for use at the Games!
For competition results and photos from the weekend, visit SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org/Sports_Winter.html